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What is a will contest?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Nevada probate courts take wills very seriously. There are many formalities and requirements involved in making a valid will, and if these appear to be met, a probate court will likely declare the will valid and legally enforceable.

There are times when family members or others feel that a will doesn’t actually represent what their loved one would have wanted, but if a court finds the will is valid, then it’s very difficult to convince the court that it should not be enforced. So, the only way for interested parties to stop this is to convince the court that the will is not valid.

In a previous post on this blog, we discussed no-contest clauses in a will. In this post, we will dig a little deeper in to the topic of will contests.

Grounds for contesting a will

Under Nevada law, interested parties can contest a will. Interested parties include people who would be expected to inherit from the deceased. For instance, a cousin who was included in a previous version of the will but left out of a revision might be considered an interested party with the right to contest the will.

The interested parties must cite grounds for contesting the will. It’s not enough just to say the will seems unfair. After all, the deceased had the right to make an unfair will if they wanted to.

Instead, the interested parties must cite specific grounds for contesting the will. These can include:

  • Problems with execution, such as lack of required number of witnesses
  • Undue influence, meaning the deceased was controlled and manipulated by another person at the time the will was executed
  • Lack of capacity, meaning the deceased was mentally incompetent to create a valid will at the time of the will’s execution

Estate planning

Will contests can be necessary, especially in cases where loved ones fear that the deceased was manipulated by an unscrupulous person. But these legal disputes can be ugly, and they can tear families apart.

When you are creating your will, it’s a good idea to make sure your intentions are clear and that no one gets any unwelcome surprises after you are gone. Skilled estate planning attorneys help people create wills that can withstand challenges while minimizing family conflict.